Commodity News

Central Institute of Subtropical Horticulture Develops 'Medicine' to Save Banana Crops

Abha Toppo
Abha Toppo
banana

The Central Institute of Subtropical Horticulture (CISH) has developed a bio-formulant to protect banana crops from fungal infection 'fusarium oxysporum TR4', or Panama Wilt that is causing havoc for banana crop in many countries.

To recall, a 'banana emergency' has been declared in Columbia & other Latin American nations, parts of Africa, Asia and Australia, where the crop has been attacked with the deadly disease that leads to wilting of the plant.

Shailendra Rajan, Director of CISH said, "The bio-formulant - ICAR fusicont is basically a mix of fungi & bacteria that has succeeded in combating the deadly disease known as Panama Wilt 4. This could be of immense value in saving the largest crop in numerous countries."

Banana has been the most expanding crop of UP and is threatening to overtake other states including Bihar, West Bengal and Maharashtra in terms of acreage and growers evincing their interest in it. The crop area is reaching 92 lakh hectares in UP.

The Uttar Pradesh bananas are high demand in other states, in terms of shape, size, weight and shelf life. However, in the past few years, a fungal disease has silently gripped the crop in eastern part of the state – Kushinagar, Gorakhpur etc and Bihar's Katihar, destroying the crop to a large extent.

The CISH Director told that the disease crept into Uttar Pradesh farms via Ghaghra, Kosi and Gandak rivers from Nepal and silently damaged the crop, causing fear among the banana cultivators.

The disease is understood to be so challenging that once it grasps a plant or crop, it is almost impossible to be removed. It attacks roots & blocks the plant's vascular system. Rajan said like other soil-dwelling strains, TR4 cannot be controlled using fungicides & fumigants.

After two-year-long investigations, spot inspection & laboratory tests, it was confirmed that it is the same 'fusarium' epidemic that has led to the declaration of 'banana emergency' in Latin American nations & farmers in Africa, Asia and Australian continents were also struggling against this.

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